Connells chief reveals plans to start growing again via acquisition

Two years after the Countrywide deal made it an industry behemoth, interim CEO Richard Twigg says he knows many smaller rivals' owners are seeking to sell as the economic clouds gather.

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Connells chief Richard Twigg revealed over the weekend that he intends to grow the industry giant further via acquisition rather than cold starts.

Twigg, who is interim CEO of Connells Group as the firm seeks to fill the shoes of outgoing chief David Livesey, told The Financial Times that despite the 2021 deal that saw it buy major rival Countrywide for £134 million, he is eyeing more firms to buy despite already having some 80 estate agency brands within the wider group.

The former Skipton Building Society finance chief  said that Connells Group, which hasn’t bought any estate agencies since its Countrywide acquisition, is seeking to buy “inherently good businesses” and that the downturn in sales “presented more opportunities for large groups with strong balance sheets and big cash reserves to acquire smaller rivals”.

Twigg also said that he knows smaller agencies are feeling the pressure and that many are looking to sell.”

Prior to the Countrywide deal in March 2021, Connells had already seen much of its growth come from acquisitions including, in 2003, its purchase of Sequence which added some 500 branches to its network, which currently stands at some 1,200 offices.


What Twigg doesn’t mention is that many bigger firms, including Foxtons recently following its purchase of Ludlow Thompson, are looking to bolster their lettings operations through acquisitions in a bid to secure the additional rental income that comes from lettings books as they batten down the hatches.

nicky partridgeConnells has also revealed a female Land and New Homes Chief for the North of England and Scotland.

Nicky Partridge began her career at Countrywide, where she worked at Preston Baker, before moving to Sequence as an Area Manager in New Homes and now the wider Connells group.

The driving factor for Nicky, 44, she says, is “enjoying the buzz of new homes. It is a very varied brief. I enjoy everything from selling the land – the start of the journey – to assisting with viability pricing while units are in planning, to implementing marketing strategies to successfully sell both off plan and built new homes units. It’s great to be involved in the whole journey and finding the development land is key.”

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